Drinking human blood is something we can't even imagine. Drinking any blood sounds pretty disgusting to us. We even eat our burgers well done to make sure nothing red is left behind. But we have seen stories of people who do drink the stuff and we got to wondering are their any health benefits to drinking blood?
In the vampire community, drinkers tend to prefer that it have a metallic taste. According to these blood drinking aficionados, the taste of blood is effected by hydration levels, diet, and blood type. These "real life" vampires claim that blood is the cure for various ailments they suffer from including fatigue, headaches, and physical pains - all of which are alleviated by a dose of human blood. According to one researcher who was interviewed for a BBC article "there are thousands of people doing this in just the US alone, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence, and I don’t think it’s a fad.”
In 2011, in a scene right out of Dracula, a man named Lyle Bensley broke into a woman's apartment and bit her on the neck. The 19-year-old Texas wanna be vampire claimed he was a centuries-old vampire who needed blood to stay alive. The woman managed to escape and called local police to have Lyle arrested for assault.
The Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory AKA The Blood Countess was rumored to have bathed in the blood of young virgins believing their blood was the fountain of youth. Legend says that serving girls aged 10 to 14 years were used in her blood rituals, and as time went on many others were abducted and tortured. Some estimates say that as many as 650 young women fell victim to the Countess but the legend is disputed though, as many scholars believe the accusations were politically motivated. Bathory took control after her husbands death and some think that rival (and jealous) rulers made the accusations hoping to gain control of her significant land holdings. Over 300 witnesses gave testimony to her innocence, but were left unheard - adding support to the idea that the legend of Erzsébet Bathory is false.
True or not, researchers must have thought the Countess was onto something because in a trial at Stanford University subjects were given blood infusions from young volunteers to see if it had any effects on early stages of Alzheimer's disease. The study found no significant improvements in the participants’ cognitive abilities (memorization and recall events) or mood. Some functional abilities did improve.
There is a rare but scientifically documented disorder called Renfield’s syndrome where people feel a compulsion to drink blood. This clinical version of vampirism seems to be more of a psychosomatic mental disorder though, as the drinkers believe they have a biological need for the stuff in order to maintain their health and vitality.
Another rare disorder called Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) causes extreme sensitivity to sunlight. These sufferers are advised to avoid sun exposure and do receive regular blood transfusions for their symptoms. But they don't drink the blood.
Blood is high in iron, so that would be a health benefit. But most people don't lack iron. Most people in the developed world and wealthy countries like the US can say that we receive everything we need from the food we eat. People on strict diets, like vegetarians, sometimes need to supplement their diet with iron - but there has to be a better way than blood drinking.
Actually, if your body takes in too much iron Hemochromatosis can occur. This is a genetic condition where excess iron cannot be properly excreted from the body. As a result liver damage, a buildup of fluid in the lungs, dehydration, low blood pressure, damage to joints and organs, and nervous disorders will occur. It can even be fatal if medical attention is not received.
Hollywood celebrities have be known to receive "vampire facelifts" where your own blood is drawn then spun in a centrifuge to separate the platelets from red blood cells. Then the cells can be used to create a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to use on the face. The injections do seem to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, but are expensive at around $1200 per treatment.
Dr. Michael Mosley thinks that human blood holds the key to curing disease and restoring your health. He went as far as to consume his own blood in the form of blood pudding and blood sausage, common dishes in many countries - except their recipes don't call for human blood.
Actually, drinking blood probably will not work since it's processed in the body the same as say, drinking water. It is digested in the stomach then eventually released into the blood stream. So even if there were benefits, you wouldn't reap them the same as an IV since human bodies don't have the same biology as vampire bats. Drinking large amounts of human blood, or any blood, can cause stomach discomfort and vomiting if too much is consumed.
One thing is for sure: you significantly increase your risk of catching a blood born disease when drinking the red juice. Things like HIV, HBV, and numerous other diseases are transmitted through blood. Furthermore, you're likely to catch what ever other diseases the host was carrying in their tissues. Blood also contains cholesterol and triglycerides, so when you drink it your taking in more of the artery clogging stuff than when you eat a burger or pizza.
In conclusion, there are few health benefits to drinking human blood but nothing you can't get from eating a piece of meat. To us, that sounds much more enjoyable. You could probably safely consume a few drops, such as when you bite your lip, but why do it if you don't have to?